The 23 Hour Day

In 1934 the hit song What a Diff’rence a Day Makes burst onto the scene.  It was originally written and performed in Spanish but quickly made its way into English.  The most famous early version was recorded by the musical legends and brothers Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey.  The Republicans forced President Obama to delay his jobs speech to a joint session of Congress by twenty three hours.  The official reason given was that the House had crucial votes scheduled for Wednesday and the chamber couldn’t be made secure in time for the President’s appearance at 8 pm on Wednesday evening, something that would take about three hours.

While many made a big deal of the ensuing controversy I remained silent.  I believe that when my opponent is in a hole and is stupid enough to keep digging I just let them dig.  When they are done digging then is the time to nail them.  Therefore I monitored the House’s activity of Wednesday September 7th, its first day back to work after a five week summer break.   The House convened at 2:00pm.  It went into recess at 2:13 pm.  It reconvened at 5:30 pm when it debated H Con Res 67 which authorized the use of the Capital Grounds for the D.C. Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run.  At 5:37 it went into recess again.  At 5:45 it reconvened to discuss, and pass by voice vote, HR 2832 – a straight extension of the Generalized System of Preferences.  Cutting through the parliamentary language it just extended the trading status of foreign countries.  At 6:13 pm it recessed again.  At 6:30 pm it reconvened to vote on the previously mentioned H Con Res 67 – which concluded at 7:02pm with the resolution passing 399 – 0.  That was the final vote of the day and the last “real’ business of the House.  The House finally adjourned at 9:36 pm.  The time period between 7:02 and 9:36 was taken up by a few brief announcements and several speeches to a chamber that was almost empty by the time Dennis Kucinich, (OH-10), took the floor at 7:05 pm.  In effect the business of the House that day was conducted from during a five hour and five minute day, three hours and forty-three minutes of which were recess.  To put that in better perspective, 73.1% or 223 minutes of a 305 minute work day was spent in recess.  Either the members of the House suffer from some serious bladder control problems or there is a management problem. 

The votes that Speaker Boehner considered more important than the jobs crisis were two – one that passed by voice vote therefore we can conclude that opposition was extremely minimal or non-existent, and one that passed unanimously.  With all due respect to the Special Olympics and foreign trade; does anyone consider them on a par with unemployment and the economic recovery? 

The naysayers will contend that it was only a day’s delay.  What difference does that make?  Ask our oldest Americans what difference December 7, 1941 made.  Ask Americans in their late fifties and beyond what difference November 22, 1963 made – they all remember where they were when they heard John F. Kennedy had been assassinated.  Ask Americans of voting age what difference September 11, 2001 made – they all remember where they were when they heard about the planes flying into the World Trade Center. 

Speaker Boehner put yourself in the place of the unemployed.  What if that one day is the day your car is repossessed?  What if that one day is the day the sheriff throws you out of your house because of foreclosure or eviction?

There are all kinds of lines about types of liars.  Most of the include liars and damn liars.  Speaker Boehner may I suggest you are a third type of liar – a damn bad liar!

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